PwC (FY18 net revenue of $16.8 billion) has agreed to pay $11.62 million to settle accusations that the Big 4 firm discriminated against older applicants for entry-level positions.
The legal settlement requires PwC to start a hiring program that would allow candidates age 40 or older to apply for entry-level positions. The firm must also hire a consultant to advise on inclusivity and age bias in hiring and training processes, advertise positions to older workers, and avoid asking college graduation dates.
The settlement also requires the company to make “public and internal statements” expressing its commitment to diverse hiring, including using age-diverse photos in its recruiting materials.
PwC’s chief purpose and inclusion officer, Shannon Schuyler, who is charged with working with the outside consultant under the settlement, said in an emailed statement to Law.com that the firm “is proud to affirm its commitment to identify and hire older workers.”
U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar of the Northern District of California last year conditionally certified a collective action in the case, which accused PwC of systematically discriminating against older applicants for associate, experienced associate or senior associate positions in the firm’s tax or assurance practices. The proposed settlement includes about 5,000 applicants who weren’t hired by PwC.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers came from Outten & Golden, AARP Foundation Litigation and Liu Law Firm.
“We and AARP Foundation believe strongly that age discrimination in hiring, in particular, is a significant problem today and limits older workers access to jobs and contributes to unemployment problems,” says Outten & Golden’s Jahan Sagafi. “It also limits employers access to talent because wherever you have a company discriminating they are shooting themselves in the foot by limiting the pool of talent they can draw from,” Law.com reports.